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Topic: EU Aims to Open to Vaccinated Visitors This Summer

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    Default EU Aims to Open to Vaccinated Visitors This Summer

    Meanwhile, the news from the EU is increasingly positive, as they seem to be rapidly heading towards opening up to fully-vaccinated visitors soon. Here's the latest TravelMole story:

    The European Union unveiled a proposal to open up for non-essential leisure travel this summer.

    "It is 'time to revive the tourism industry' Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted.

    The European Commission recommended allowing in fully vaccinated non-EU travellers from countries with a 'good epidemiological situation.'

    This would likely be based on the number of infections per 100,000 people over a two week rolling period.

    This would allow British travellers into Europe based on current levels.

    The EU drug regulator has so far authorised vaccines from BioNTech/Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson, and may also approve two Chinese vaccines in the coming days.

    "We want to have this done before the mass summer travel starts," an EU official said.

    While all member states need to agree in principle, individual countries can strengthen requirements as they deem necessary.

    This could include providing a negative Covid test or a period of quarantine.

    The proposal, which it hopes will be adopted by member states by the end of the month, complements the EU's digital green certificate system.

    The digital green certificate system can be used by non-EU citizens ff they have taken vaccines which are recognised and approved by the EU.

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    I'd be surprised if they do authorise the Chinese vax as recent studies in the countries using them (one of which is Chile) shows them to have a very low efficacy (one study suggests just 30%).
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    That's really unfortunate, TF. You wonder what they are thinking by using something with such a low rate. I doubt if I would have it, that's for sure.

    In the meantime, another TravelMole story indicates that people are being ripped off by the PCR covid test, and IATA is warning costs MUST come down if people aren't to be put off from flying (and, for once, Willie Walsh is spot on):

    Costly PCR tests will impact the air travel recovery as national borders slowly reopen, the International Air Transport Association has said.

    Current costs of PCT tests could raise the cost of an average airfare by 45 to 90% it says.

    "The real risk here is that these prohibitive costs will prevent families from exercising their freedom to travel, to visit friends, to take a holiday," Willie Walsh, IATA director-general said during a virtual press briefing.

    "As a society, we just cannot allow a situation to develop where only the rich can afford to travel again."

    IATA research shows wide variations in prices between different countries and even within the same country.

    Based on the average pre-pandemic cost of a one-way airline ticket at $200, a $90 PCR test raises the cost by 45%.

    With the exception of France which funds the cost of testing, average test costs were from $90 to $208.

    "People are being gouged by these high prices. Governments continue to mandate these tests but are taking their big slice of the pie through VAT charges," Walsh said.

    There are significant mark-ups as IATA estimates the actual cost of PCR testing to be $15.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Veness
    That's really unfortunate, TF. You wonder what they are thinking by using something with such a low rate. I doubt if I would have it, that's for sure.
    According to the article I read the vaccine uses the old fashion approach of take the virus make it benign and cultivate it, whereas. the modern approach is to develop an anti virus. Some countries are interested in them as the Chinese are giving it away free. There’s no such thing as a free lunch?


    Also there is a body of MPs who are arguing against relaxing the travel bans until late this year.
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    There's good reason to keep a partial travel ban in place (hello India, Brazil, and others), but to be arguing against travel with countries having a high vaccination rate - and low Covid rate - makes no sense at this stage. Many travel businesses WILL go bust if they get sidelined for much longer.

    Oh, and Italy is on board with vax passports even sooner than the EU (albeit, their vaccination rate is not great, so I'm not sure I'd consider going there yet).

    From today's TravelMole:

    Italy plans to reopen borders to vaccinated travellers before the EU-wide Digital Green Certificate rolls out.

    Vaccinated travellers would be welcome to visit quarantine-free from mid-May.

    "We are delighted that Italy is once again ready and open for business," the Italian National Tourist Board said.

    That follows an announcement by Italy's Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, that visitors could use the Italian National Vaccine Pass.

    "Let us not wait until mid-June for the EU pass. In mid-May tourists can have the Italian pass... so the time has come to book your holidays in Italy," Draghi said at the G20 Ministerial meeting this week.

    Vaccinated tourists will face no restriction of travel within Italy as long as they have a negative test taken up to 48 hours before arrival.

    About 11% of Italians are fully vaccinated while a quarter have received a first vaccine dose.

    "We have implemented robust protocols to keep our visitors safe," the Italian National Tourist Board said.

    The UK is set to announce which countries make the low risk 'green' list on its traffic light system.

    Italy is unlikely to be on it which would mean travellers would have to quarantine on return.

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